The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP), a coalition of more than 100 shippers and allied associations dedicated to responsibly increasing federal weight limits on interstate highways, sent a letter to members of Congress. The letter urged members to support the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009 (H.R. 1799), which would increase the interstate weight limit to allow for safer highways, a cleaner environment, improved trucking productivity and a stronger economy.

‘The Coalition for Transportation Productivity is asking Congress to reform weight limits for trucks equipped with an additional axle in order to improve highway safety and efficiency and reduce fuel use and emissions,’ said CTP Co-Chair John Runyan. ‘As truck freight increases in the years ahead, H.R. 1799 would relieve the burden on our nation’s shippers and would encourage a more productive truck transportation system.’

‘Accident rates among heavy vehicles are strongly tied to the vehicle miles a truck must travel to deliver a ton of freight, and trucks now travel twice as many miles as they did when the current federal weight limit was set,’ continued Runyan. ‘A proposal like H.R. 1799 would reduce the number of vehicles miles and the overall number of trucks needed to deliver a specific amount of freight, reducing hazardous vehicle miles traveled and cutting fuel and emissions by 19 percent for each ton carried.’

Introduced by US Rep. Michael Michaud, the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009 allows individual states to increase their interstate vehicle weight limits to 97,000 pounds’but only for vehicles equipped with a sixth axle. Without changing the size or length of the truck, the additional axle would maintain braking capacity and the current distribution of weight per tire while minimizing pavement wear. The bill also imposes a user fee for six-axle units that would fund vital bridge repair. (CTP)